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What spell cast fetters on my tongue , That then I did not speak , And plead against the reckless wretch , Strong because / was weak ? What had my gentle mother felt Could she have known my woes—Beheld me spurned with coarse
contempt—Debased with bitter blows !—Torn , sleepy , shivering , from my bed—A slavish lackey made—A true apprenticeship I passed Unto the tyrant's trade ! I learned the arts that cheats essay ,
The despot to elude , — I learned upon the weak to prey—Grew callous , reckless , rude ; And when I left the public school , My education done , 'Twas well I had my mother lost , For she had lost her son !
I brought into the busy world A tiger-hearted breast—A vulture ' s eye—a lie-stain'd lip , That still in smiles was dressed . Oh , I could bless and blight in turn , Alike could soothe or slay , I loved command , but well had learned The serpent ' s subtle way .
What ' s been my course ? Oh ! do not ask—I did not stab nor steal , But these are mrtues to the crimes My story might reveal . This coward hand has struck her down
Who loved me—bore my name : — I played to her the traitor ' s part , Without remorse or shame . Yet had she been less pure than snow—Less full of love and trust , I would have cast her on the world
A wreck—was I not just ? Yes , —just ) as I'd been taught to be : — Might was my plea for power—I had been ruled with iron sway , And seized in turn my hour . My headlong rage has even failed At times to spare my child , Sudden and eavage , oft in vain The Victim shrieked or smiled .
Yet well I bore me to the world , I bowed with gallant grace ,
The Confessions of a Fag . 265
Ko , 88 . * | 7